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Rumor: Ante Zizic leaving Cavaliers to play in Europe

Ante Zizic

CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 7: Ante Zizic #41 of the Cleveland Cavaliers smiles before the game on March 7, 2020 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

As had been rumored for a month, after three seasons on the fringes of the NBA, Cavaliers big man Ante Zizic is looking to leave the NBA and sign with a powerhouse European squad, very possibly Real Madrid.

Zizic is a free agent after this season but is still technically under contract through Oct. 18 because the season was extended (the Cavaliers are not one of the teams in the NBA’s restart in Orlando). Zizic is asking out of his Cavaliers contract so he can sign now in Europe, reports Johnny Askounis of

Ante Zizic will move from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Real Madrid and participate in preparations for the 2020-21 season with his new side, per Eurohoops sources.... players can still be waived according to traditional NBA salary regulations. As for Zizic, the Cavs are not part of the Orlando bubble and are expected to facilitate his transfer by releasing him soon rather than keeping him contracted until mid-October and preventing him from joining the Madrid powerhouse for the 2020 preseason.

A subsequent report says Zizic is deciding between Real Madrid and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

Zizic played in 113 games across three seasons in Cleveland, but in part due to injuries he never found a steady place in the Cavaliers rotation. The Cavaliers didn’t pick up Zizic’s rookie-scale team option for next season (never a good sign for a player’s fit), and with Andre Drummond returning to Cleveland next season, there would be limited minutes for another traditional big. Zizic was drafted at No. 23 in the first round by Boston but traded to Cleveland in the Kyrie Irving deal. In three seasons, Zizic averaged 6 points a game in fewer than 14 minutes a night, when he could even get on the court.

Hopefully, a fresh start in Europe will have him getting run and impacting games.